I’ve discovered why: I wasn’t listening to my body. I wasn’t being loving and nurturing. I was being harsh, critical and extremely judgmental. Why can’t you do anymore jump squats? (I had just done 120 reps, maybe that’s why.) Why aren’t you losing weight? Why don’t your abs look leaner like the women you train with? Why do your knees hurt when you run? Why are you so tired? Ugh, what’s wrong with you?
Wow! With that sort of self talk, I’m amazed my body does anything for me!
No wonder I wasn’t feeling like my best self — physically or otherwise. I’ve since learned the biggest health and weight loss secret no one is talking about — listen to your body.
That’s what I wasn’t doing. When my body told me, "Hey, I’m exhausted," I ignored it, and pounded away at the gym anyway. When I wasn't hungry for food but really yearned for love and needed to do something nice for myself like sleep, take a bubble bath, read a good book or have lunch with a nurturing friend, I ordered pizza instead. I ate the entire pie by myself, sending shame through my entire being. When my body was craving physical activity, I laid on the couch.
Our bodies are constantly sending signals. The problem is, many of us aren’t listening to our greatest ally. Our minds, picking up on many self-limiting messages and images from the media, think they knows best. The key is to have our minds and bodies in sync with one another. Our bodies need to talk to us, and we need to listen.
All the things you can do to find inner happiness require the body. The mind isn't living in a separate house. I could never fully commit to the best regime of diet, exercise, stress reduction and meditation until I got my body on board and comfortable with my plans. That meant loving, honoring and respecting my body for all it does for me, rather than criticizing it for not being super-human. It is vital to work with your body and not against it.
The next time you reach for a "bad" food, feel tempted to overeat or have any kind of craving you feel is wrong, try to stop focusing on the food. Listen to what your body is telling you instead. Ask, "How do I feel right this moment?" Either you are hungry, which is natural, or you feel something you don't want to feel. Instead of self-medicating through food, try being emotionally available to yourself. Through the practice of checking in with and nurturing yourself, you will eventually stop feeling the need to comfort yourself through food.
Enjoy what your body wants to do. I choose to ask my body what it needs, and follow its advice without judging, whether it's sleep, rest, nourishment, physical activity or time spent in nature.
For more inspirational stories, check out Kate's blog, Love Yourself, Love Your Life.
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